Thursday, June 19, 2008
Community spirit on display at Relay for Life
By SUE WATSON
Marshall County residents turned out for fellowship and a good cause Friday. Teams loaded up the charcoal grills with meats. Cold drinks and snacks were plentiful, and entertainment included some of the best local talent.
But the best of the Relay for Life remains the sharing of community spirit that knits this county together.
The American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life is the signal event of the year for Marshall County, where honor is given those who have survived cancer and those who lost the battle - an event that is becoming known as the most unifying for the races, the young and old, the business and church communities and the local leaders.
Perhaps the Relay for Life means more because the teams that work hard to raise the money for the fight against cancer are composed of hard-working, ordinary people. They go above and beyond to raise money, design thoughtful decorations, organize the sound stages and practice their songs and dances to make the evening one of fun as well as a solemn one.
All the work is done by volunteers as committees and as individuals.
Twenty-three teams participated this year, according to Gracie Echols, chairman of the steering committee.
A severe lightening and wind storm followed by a heavy downpour disrupted the all-night event - pushing in near mid-night then a second wave of wind and rain forced most overnighters off the campsite at Sam Coopwood Park in Holly Springs.
Because of the weather, the money raised at the event was not counted Monday but a final figure of the amount raised to date will be forthcoming after the committees meet for a final wrap-up Thursday.
Mt. Olive Church was selected as best campsite, according to Frances Underwood, one of the judges. She said Mt. Olive Church was chosen for first place because the team used this year’s theme - “Follow the Rainbow for the Cure” - in its tent decoration.
The Beta Babes (Beta Sigma Phi Sorority) took second place for best campsite. The theme they chose was “Follow the Yellow Brick Road to a Cure.”
Third place went to Parker Hannifin, a major sponsor of the Relay this year.
An unofficial tally of the money raised from the sale of luminaria came to $2,333, according to Connie Mason.
Survivor sponsors this year were J.F. Brittenum & Sons Funeral Home, Rust College, Merchants & Farmers Bank, Bank of Holly Springs, and the 2008 Relay For Life Committee, Mason said. Holly Springs Utility Department sponsored the luminaria this year. Drinking water was provided to survivors by the Holly Springs Chamber of Commerce.
Elton Bray served as emcee. Kevin Thomas provided sound stage equipment as well as WKRA and WURC radio. Honorary grand marshals this year were Frances Thomas Atkins and Mary Walker Gatewood.
A final wrap up of the event is expected to be available in next week’s South Reporter.
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